Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Source: Received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Ellie is the Preliator, a unique being whose purpose is to defeat reapers, vicious creatures who eat people in order to send their souls to hell in preparation for a war between hell and heaven. Will is her guardian, the one who looks out for her and searches her out after every death and reincarnation.
I was intrigued by the concept of her reincarnation and how that affects her life as centuries pass. On the one hand, a woman now has more options and is accustomed to more independence, probably resulting in a bolder and more active woman. However she has to struggle to balance school with her responsibility as well as her desire for a "normal" life including college and boyfriends, etc. Ellie's grades, never that great, suffer tremendously from this responsibility. In fact, I thought she wanted the "normal" life too much and that soured me on her.
Now it's probably no surprise that there is a romance between Ellie and Will. His sole object in life is to protect and serve her and he's been looking out for her soul for five hundred years. However I was very swayed by the angel Michael who informs them that the romance is wrong because SPOILER Ellie is the archangel Gabriel. I cannot in good conscience support a relationship so obviously displeasing to God. I do like that the trend of angel books is bringing up questions of God though. It was confusing though as Ellie's essential soul is apparently reincarnated, which is not a Christian concept and seemed out of line with the other theology.
I was intrigued by the obvious socio-economic class of Ellie; while she talks about wealthier friends, she herself comes from a pretty wealthy family. Her parents buy her a $30,000 car for her seventeenth birthday as well as a Badgley Mischka dress (probably around $300 which is still far more than I've ever spent on any article of clothing including my glasses!) I've never really noticed how much wealth a YA paranormal main character has so that was surprising. Now I'm quite fortunate in that respect but I think her mentioning that she wasn't that wealthy when she obviously was rankled me. I don't that's fair of me but it's how I feel.
I was disturbed by Ellie's blithe dismissal of her underage (she had just turned 17) drinking. She justifies it because she didn't drive anywhere, no one got hurt, and hey she'd done it before. While I think the law does allow for underage drinking in private settings, providing the underage person did not purchase the alcohol, I was very uncomfortable with her blase attitude. In fact, in general I did not like Ellie as a person finding her far too flippant for such a serious position and much too concerned with having "fun" instead of with performing her duty.
KIND OF SPOILER: I thought her father, who's a big jerk to her, would turn out to have been a reaper because he was so mean but that didn't happen; it still could though.
Overall: Unlikable and immature main character but intriguing premise. While it's the beginning of a trilogy, the story as a whole was more self-contained and I feel comfortable with the knowledge that I will have read it as a standalone.
Cover: At first I really liked it and then I thought her face looked really weird and I feel like some indication of Will should be there.
Challenges: YA Debut; Ebook